The 32-year-old shouted "Chill pill!" as two men stormed the stage after he'd finished his foxtrot
Disgraced and banned US swimmer and 12-time Olympic medallist Ryan Lochte’s attempts to foxtrot his way back into the hearts of Americans got off on the wrong foot yesterday evening when two protestors stormed the stage during his appearance on Dancing with the Stars.
The swimmer’s appearance at the Rio Olympic Games made international headlines when he was caught out over telling lies about being robbed at gunpoint. It subsequently emerged Lochte had actually urinated at a petrol station with other members of the US swimming team, with one of the party breaking a door in the process. The 32-year-old swimmer was charged with filing a false report by Brazilian police.
In an effort to bolster public opinion – and to presumably recover some of the costs lost when a number of sponsors severed ties with him – Lochte agreed to star in the 23rd season of Dancing with the Stars, the US version of popular BBC reality competition Strictly Come Dancing. Having just finished his foxtrot, dancing to the on-the-nose musical choice of Call Me Irresponsible, the show was brought to an abrupt halt as two protestors stormed the stage.
As judge Carrie Ann Inaba was offering her take on Lochte’s dance with his partner Cheryl Burke, Inaba’s focus suddenly shifted to something off camera. “Hey... back off,” Inaba cried as a person was seen making a dash for where Lochte was standing.
ABC, the Disney-owned television network that broadcasts the show, immediately cut the feed and went to a commercial break, while Lochte, infamous before his recent scandals for his ‘bro’ attitude, could be heard shouting “Chill pill!”
When ABC returned to the live broadcast, no explanation was offered to viewers over the interruption and the channel did not immediately respond to media requests for clarification. On Twitter, however, members of the live audience in the LA studio uploaded footage of two men wearing anti-Lochte T-shirts being removed from the set.
Lochte said afterwards that he “felt a little hurt,” adding: “So many feelings are going through my head right now... but I came out here. I wanted to do something I’m completely not comfortable with, and I did.”
Other contestants on this season of Dancing with the Stars include former Republican presidential candidate and Texas governor Rick Perry, TV host and activist Amber Rose, hip-hop star Vanilla Ice, and Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez.